Pflugerville City Council gave developers the green light for the next phase of Downtown East, which will include a new city hall, recreation center and destination retail space.

What’s happening?

City Council approved a preliminary agreement with developers Griffin Swinerton LLC on Nov. 28, finalizing negotiations with the company for the first phase of building plans for the city-owned property located northeast of the Pecan Street and FM 685 intersection.

Developers can now begin the permitting and design process, with construction on the site estimated to start late 2024, according to a presentation to council.

After conducting an in-depth market analysis, developers expressed to council hesitations for multifamily and office spaces in the current recessive climate.

In response to these market conditions, developers broke the project into two phases.

“The most important thing that you can do is to start,” Griffin Swinerton representative Korin Crawford said. “[The city] needs to create a destination. ...We put together a Phase 1 that was doable and achievable that creates the momentum for the subsequent phases down the road.”

Plans for Phase 1 include:
  • Infrastructure
  • City hall with cafe
  • Multigenerational recreation center
  • 11,750 total square feet of retail, with 10,500 square feet along the ground floor of the recreation center
  • Parking
Infrastructure plans note an extension of main street with a bridge over Gilleland creek and a central plaza.

The entire build-out of the 29-acre property indicates a potential for multifamily residential, flex commercial spaces, and ample open spaces and green buffers for compatibility with surrounding neighborhoods, according to city documents.

By the numbers

Total cost for Phase 1 of the project is estimated at $204.7 million, a little more than $55 million over estimates released by the city in 2022. However, Crawford noted that the company took “great pains” to ensure Phase 1 fell well within budget.

According to the city, a preliminary assessment indicated a maximum of $71.8 million that would need to be funded by tax payers. This amounts to a maximum increase of $3.38 per $100,000 for Pflugerville residents' monthly property tax bill.

Downtown East project funding:
  • General obligation bonds: $47 million
  • Certified obligation bonds: $151.3 million
  • Right-of-way acquisition funds: $5.2 million
  • Developer financing for retail: $3.6 million
  • Potential grant funding
Phase 1 cost breakdown:
  • Infrastructure: $33.8 million
  • Parking: $3.1 million
  • Parcel acquisition for Main Street: $5.6 million
  • City hall: $80.1 million
  • Recreation center: $78.5 million
  • Retail: $3.6 millions
“You know, folks are visionaries. ... They actually need to see shovels in the ground and see storefronts up before they're ready to make the commitment,” Crawford said, referencing the momentum Phase 1 could bring for the development.

Downtown East is projected to generate $33 million in revenue from property taxes, sales taxes and hotel occupancy taxes over the next 20 years, according to the city.

Looking ahead

Place 5 council member Jim McDonald voiced concerns of walkability and public transit.

“I’m thinking ahead in terms of where we want to be 50 years from now, I want to make sure that we're at least leaning towards incorporating elements along those lines,” McDonald said.

Crawford said the development is intended to provide a “live, work, play environment,” and told council of plans to include a park and ride possibility for the central civic garage on the property.

“So by very definition, this is following the tenets of what transit-oriented design is,” Crawford said.

Council members also discussed plans to connect and include pedestrian trails, as well as the preservation of the architectural integrity in new plans as it relates to the historic section of downtown Pflugerville.

Crawford assured council that developers are currently and will continue to collaborate with city officials regarding the needs and wants of the city, having fulfilled all 19 requirements asked of them throughout the negotiation process of the preliminary development agreement.

Upon council’s approval of the development agreement, developers anticipate infrastructure construction to begin in late 2024, with city hall and the recreation center set for construction sometime in 2025.